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A few reviews

Vultural

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An Outlaw - 1964 - 6/10
AKA - Narazumono  /  ならず者

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Japanese hitman offs mob boss in Hong Kong streets.
Returns to hotel room for payment, finds dead, nude girl in his bed.
The mob boss turns out to be a government official, the dead girl the official’s daughter.
The hitman sees police arrive out his window and realize he’s been set up.
He escapes, but gets mistaken for a player in a drug smuggling operation.
He hides, in what turns out to be a brothel, and gets embroiled with sex traffickers.
This is the first five - ten minutes of a frantic, often confusing, movie.
Vintage postcard as scenes shift from Hong Kong to Yokohama to Macao.  Cool bluesy jazz score.
Violent yarn of betrayal and honor, though motives and participants baffling.
Bond fans, look for Tetsurô Tanba as cardsharp.
 

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Blues Britannia: Can Blue Men Sing The Whites? - 2012 - 7/10

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Documentary tracing the rise of the British blues groups.
First part covers touring black elder statesmen:  Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, Sonny Boy Williamson . . .
Then the Brit generation follows:  Rolling Stones, Yardbirds, John Mayall, Fleetwood Mac, Cream, ending with Zeppelin.
Well done, though I wish the younger batch could lose the apologetic guilt.  Face it, when the old men died out, those skinny white kids were the ones who carried the tradition.
Doc packed with moments and stories.
Relf still missed.
 

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The Monster - 1925 - 5/10

On lonely country road, cars crash and drivers disappear.  Most perplexing to dense locals.
Meek clerk studies his “How To Be A Detective” manual and wonders aloud (in inter-titles) about the empty mental institution nearby.
First third of film packed with stale jokes, uninspired gags.
Naturally, a trio wind up in the sanitarium.

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Look out!  The asylum director is none other than Lon Chaney.
Events darken considerably, though comic relief springs at the worst moments.
One wonders if film makers worried audiences might die of heart-attacks.
Creaky, stagebound, mostly tiresome, punctuated with a few grisly, if not startling sequences.
 

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Infamous - 2006 - 6/10

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Toby Jones's portrayal came out the same time as Phillip Hoffman's in Capote.
Jones's is a bit more over the top than Hoffman.
This version also accents how the long judgment process affected Capote.
He couldn't publish “In Cold Blood” until the actual hanging was carried out four years later.
The waiting drained him.
This was a film I more "appreciated" as opposed to "enjoyed."
 

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The Nice Guys - 2016 - 6/10

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Better than Inherent Vice, not as good as Boogie Nights, this detective mystery does a nice job evoking the shallow, at times over the top, 70s.
Gosling and Crowe laugh out loud funny as bickering duo who stagger into hitmen, cover ups, porn stars, and great parties.
Plot completely derivative of TV of the era - Starsky & Hutch, Columbo, Streets Of San Francisco, many more - take your pick.
Song choices were wrong, clothes and cars acceptable.
Angourie Rice, as Gosling’s daughter, is a gem, though her admittance to adult parties - never, ever, ever.
Lightweight.  Keep expectations down and you’ll enjoy more.
 

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The Future - 2011 - 3/10

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Depressing tale of two sad sack whiners.
Early on, they decide to adopt a terminally ill kitty.
They bounce working from one meaningless job to another, quietly complain, and wish they were more successful.
I suspect the writer/director was making a point about disconnection - or life's pointlessness - or souls without direction.
Failure on all fronts.
Both actors delivered lines in monotone, suggesting they were on Quaaludes, Prozac or Lithium.
By the end of the film, their characters had not advanced one iota, yet I had lost 90" of my life watching this lifeless poo poo.
And the terminally ill feline?  Mope mope mope.
 

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Après Vous - 2003 - 6/10

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Late night, taking a shortcut, a head waiter notices a suicide attempt.
He intervenes - rescues, if you will - and takes responsibility for the man.
Lesson 1) Don’t take shortcuts.  Lesson 2) Mind your own business.
The wannabe suicide is a hopeless mess.  No job, no place to live, no self esteem.
Crucially, his girlfriend recently dumped him.
Just like you or I, the waiter sets out to rebuild the guy’s life.
Cotton candy, French fluff.  Not too talky, but certainly strains believability.
 

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The Cabin In The Woods - 2012 - 7/10

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I watched this grudgingly.  Definitely not the Joss Whedon fan.
The dialogue he writes for actors strikes me as twee and arch.
Film opened with 5 college kids driving for a weekend in the woods.
Christ, another dead teenager flick.
I hung with the movie, however, because there were mysterious lab technicians in a parallel narrative.
Curiouser and curiouser.
Deep into the plot, threads converge into a neat twist and a hair raising finale.
Belongs in an Horror fan's shelf.
 

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Canals - The Making Of A Nation - 2015 - 7/10

Another canal documentary.
Usually, these focus on the traveler, be they an experienced boat person or some pseudo celebrity who exclaims and gushes in feigned astonishment.
Other docs follow the hiker, traipsing the tow paths.
Those are more picture postcards.

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This one is more in depth.  Six 30' episodes follow the engineers who dreamed and designed them, geologists who learned to read the earth, financiers who floated stock shares, navvies (navigators) who provided the sheer muscle, and the boat people who worked the narrow boats.

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Recently restored canals are now flooded with daytrippers and the genteel.
The doc flashes a lens at a more troubling possibility - tenants who cannot afford a home.
Always uncertain is the future, though.
 

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Zero Dark Thirty - 2012 - 7/10

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Polarizing film that became wrapped in politics and left vs right,
Because of the hoopla, I postponed watching for years.
Also, reviews ranged from wildly ecstatic to major disappointment.
ZD30 is long, and the beginning rather disjointed and sporadic ... by design.
The story unfolds following chatter to slim leads to botched meetings.
Leading to an exciting, and lengthy, finale.
Well worth your time if the subject compels you:  the search for and elimination of Bin Ladin.
For others, the concept of political assassination will brook no entry.
 

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Vultural said:
Definitely not the Joss Whedon fan.

Have you given either Firefly or Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along-Blog a try?
 

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TVs Frink said:
Vultural said:
Definitely not the Joss Whedon fan.

Have you given either Firefly or Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along-Blog a try?

I've had the Firefly box set for years.
I have still not viewed the final two episodes, though I did buy and watch Serenity.
My brother sent me Horrible Sing Along - I tried.
Funny, Broadway to West End to Bollywood, no problem.
It's Whedon.  Buffy, Alien Resurrection, Angel, Dollhouse.  Every one, I tried and hurled the nerf brick.
I love Woody and will watch anything he does, but I know he has boatloads of detractors.
I found this researching ole Joss -

http://www.cracked.com/article/166_5-reasons-it-sucks-being-joss-whedon-fan/
 

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I think Firefly is one of the best tv shows ever made (its short run didn't hurt).  Serenity was so much better than I expected, and in fact I wished more people died at the end.  Horrible is an acquired taste but I love it.  I enjoyed Cabin in the Woods quite a bit, probably because I generally hate slasher films.  I've never seen Buffy, Dollhouse, etc.

And now you have my full opinion on Whedon. ;)
 

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Dollhouse is a seriously fun, wacky show that finds a nice groove when it stops being episodic. Plus Juice's edit of the really strange bookend season finales is great.
 

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thecuddlyninja said:
Dollhouse is a seriously fun, wacky show that finds a nice groove when it stops being episodic. Plus Juice's edit of the really strange bookend season finales is great.

Personally don't like Dollhouse and think the strange season finales are the only episodes I really enjoyed. I suspect if it hadn't been cancelled the next season would focus solely on that setting and I would have liked it a lot more.

I only saw Buffy recently but I like it, after season 1 it gets good. Angel is also surprisingly better than I thought it'd be. I haven't gotten too far into either so can't vouch for later seasons yet.

Love Firefly. Unfortunately I saw the movie first and didn't understand it, then years later had forgotten enough of it to see the show with fresh eyes and I fell in love with it. I rewatched the movie and everything made sense and "was that Dennis from Its Always Sunny in Philadelphia? It was! Haha!" was a thing that came out of my mouth.

I love Doctor Horrible and wish he'd continue. The budget doesn't need to increase, the songs just need to be catchy and funny.

And the movies:
Avengers was fun, I liked Avengers 2 better than most people seemed to. I haven't seen his Shakespeare film. Cabin in the Woods was a wonderful surprise.
Alien Resurrection is what it is. I like parts, I hate parts. The director is fantastic and his other stuff is worth checking out. Jean Pierre Jeunet I think.
And technically this last one is brother's project but he directed the pilot so his fingers are in it, Agents of Shield. To put it in a nutshell, I'm still watching it.
 

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Please Give - 2010 - 6/10

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NYC husband and wife own a boutique furniture resale shop.
They buy merchandise from children of recently dead elders.
Wife (Catherine Keener) suffers guilt from profiteering from bereaved, gives cash to street bums, attempts volunteer work.
Their next door neighbor is 91, carrot hair, cranky, with no check switch.
Husband (Oliver Platt) flirts with granny's granddaughter (Amanda Peet).
If you have sisters, or grandma or mother from hell, you will relate.
Nice plot threads. Savage bitch lit dialogue.
 

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O J: Made In America - 2016 - 8/10

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ALERT - This is the 5 part documentary - NOT the Hollywoodized mini-series, The People v. O.J. Simpson.

Outstanding documentary of the rise, fall, ultimately bizarre demise of charismatic O J Simpson.
From impoverished childhood, to college glory with USC Trojans, NFL achievements, forays into film.

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Then murders and subsequent trials.  Numerous details I knew nothing about (eg: wife #1, Marcus ...).
E04 is particularly good at displaying the defense team strategy and tag team approach.
E05 reveals the shadowy years between the civil trial and the Las Vegas lunacy.
Unresolved American issues of race, class, wealth are dispassionately exposed.
Well researched, thorough, extensive - often painful - interviews, balanced and seemingly fair.

One is left with the disquieting feeling of having witnessed
“privileged justice” followed years later with “payback justice.”
Neither casts the judicial system in an honorable light.
 

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The 5-part OJ doc is amazing.
 
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